PACKET RAT: What's in the cards for 2006? Pods are the talk of the Net

The Rat

Michael J. Bechetti

The end is near ... at least for 2005. And that means it's time for the pundits to come out of the woodwork and make their predictions. As usual, the Rat will ignore most of them.

Aside from being able to predict that his bank balance will be significantly lower on the far side of the holidays, the whiskered one doesn't particularly count himself among the most prescient.

But the wirebiter figures he's got just as much chance of being right as some crackpot analyst paid by vendors to predict good news'especially when armed with his Magic 8-ball. So, without further ado, here are the Rat's tech prognostications for 2006:
By the end of 2006, almost every American will have a personal weblog and podcast. Unfortunately, the few holdouts will be the commissioners of the FCC.

Because of the increasing amount of spam in e-mail traffic, many computer users will turn to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds as a way to communicate with each other, subscribing to personal feeds from the folks they actually want to get messages from.

In an effort to sidestep the controversy of its plans to scan every book ever published into a searchable database, Google will acquire the Library of Congress and related assets. The company will then spin off those related assets (the U.S. government) as an IPO in an effort to liquidate the national debt, replacing T-bills with stock options. The company retains the Defense Department, bringing new meaning to the term 'Google-bombing.'

History will be made when the Supreme Court justices deliberate on a lawsuit over video game violence by holding an extraordinary session in Halo 2 on XBox Live. In the minority dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia will accuse Chief Justice John Roberts of being a team-killing noob.
Spotting a business opportunity in IBM's move to provide spam-free e-mail boxes, the Postal Service will attempt to provide the same service with paper mail. USPS will offer virtual mail delivery by RSS with the purchase of a post office box. 'Intelligent agents' (postal workers) will filter out junk mail, and prioritize delivery of optically scanned correspondence by keywords. The Justice Department will shortly afterward raid post offices when it is discovered that 80 percent of the RSS traffic generated by the program is made up of subscriptions to magazines in plain brown wrappers.
In a similar development, in- creasing credit-card phone solicitations will drive people to communicate primarily by podcast. By combining wireless Internet, voice over IP and the iPod, podcasts can be delivered almost instantly'without the awkwardness of actual two-way communication. The technology saves the marriage of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, who find that they'd rather listen to themselves talk anyway.
Sony, attempting to correct the errors of its ill-conceived digital rights management efforts that put 'rootkits' on listeners' computers, introduces a new rights management scheme called 'Format C:'.
Scott McNealy will retire as Sun Microsystems' CEO and focus his energies on his first love'the auto industry. Mc-Nealy's business model will be to give cars away for free and make money off integration and service. Java-certified mechanics become the most highly paid segment of the workforce.
Microsoft will release Windows Vista on time'partially because it will keep changing the scheduled release date.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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